“In a few short pages,” writes Francine Prose in her Introduction, “May Sinclair succeeds in rendering the oppressive weight and strength of the chains of family love.” Young Harriett Frean is taught that “behaving beautifully” is paramount, and she becomes a self-sacrificing woman whose choices prove devastating to herself and to those who love her most. An early pioneer of
stream-of-consciousness writing, Sinclair employs the technique brilliantly in this finely crafted psychological novel. Evoking the style and depth of her contemporaries Virginia Woolf and D. H. Lawrence, Sinclair’s haunting narrative also reflects her keen interest in the theories of Jung and Freud. The text of this Modern Library 20th Century Rediscovery was set from the first American edition of 1922.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of History eBook: Life and Death of Harriett Frean|
|Release Date: 01-05-2011|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Life and Death of Harriett Frean
"Pussycat, Pussycat, where have you been?" "I've been to London, to see the Queen." "Pussycat, Pussycat, what did you there?" "I caught a little mouse under the chair."
Her mother said it three times. And each time the Baby Harriett laughed. The sound of her laugh was so funny that she laughed again at that; she kept on laughing, with shriller and shriller squeals.
"I wonder why she thinks it's funny," her mother said.
Her father considered it. "I don't know. The cat perhaps. The cat and the Queen. But no; that isn't funny."
"She sees something in it we don't see, bless her," said her mother.
Each kissed her in turn, and the Baby Harriett stopped laughing suddenly.
"Mamma, did Pussycat see the Queen?"
"No," said Mamma. "Just when the Queen was passing the little mouse came out of its hole and ran under the chair. That's what Pussycat saw."
Every evening before bedtime she said the same rhyme, and Harriett asked the same question.
When Nurse had gone she would lie still in her cot, waiting. The door would open, the big pointed shadow would move over the ceiling, the lattice shadow of the fireguard would fade and go away, and Mamma would come in carrying the lighted candle. Her face shone white between her long, hanging curls. She would stoop over the cot and lift Harriett up, and her face would be hidden in curls. That was the kiss-me-to-sleep kiss. And when she had gone Harriett lay still again, waiting. Presently Papa would come in, large and dark in the firelight. He stooped and she leapt up into his arms. That was